A response to, Super Trawler Desperately Seeking Fish Despite Ban

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Mr Peter McGlone
Director
Tasmanian Conservation Trust
191-193 Liverpool St
HOBART TAS 7000

Dear Mr McGlone.

I refer to your media release, “Super trawler desperately seeking fish despite ban”, issued today, 23 January 2013 ( TT, below, here ).

I was extremely disappointed to read the comments made on behalf of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust by Marine Campaigner Jon Bryan, which incorrectly asserted that AFMA has developed a transhipment proposal to “ignore Minister Burke’s concerns about the small pelagic fishery” and “which is clearly aimed at undermining an important government decision to keep super trawlers such as the Abel Tasman out of Australian waters”.

As you know, Mr Bryan is a member of the Small Pelagic Fishery Resource Assessment Group which provides important advice to AFMA about scientific stock assessments. Stakeholders are, of course, entitled to their opinions and we value the Tasmanian Conservation Trust’s input into our consultation processes.

However, Mr Bryan’s comment is wrong, intentionally misleading and damaging to AFMA’s reputation. As Mr Bryan is aware, AFMA has not developed any proposal to allow transhipment. An application from a fishing company for authorisation to tranship has been received by AFMA and is being considered. AFMA has not expressed any views on the proposal and no decision has yet been made. As is usual practice with such applications, AFMA has begun a comprehensive process of consultation with industry and stakeholders.

The conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity is a fundamental consideration of AFMA’s decision making and in this respect AFMA will have regard to any information provided to it by Minister Burke. I therefore refute the suggestion that AFMA is in any way ignoring Ministerial concerns or attempting to undermine government decisions in any way. To suggest this is harmful and irresponsible. 

I have known and worked with Mr Bryan for over ten years and am disappointed by these comments. I contacted Mr Bryan immediately after the media release was issued to offer him the opportunity to retract his comments, but he declined.

I now formally ask for the Tasmanian Conservation Trust to retract these comments.

Please contact me on 02 6225 5555 if you would like to discuss this matter further.

Yours sincerely,

Dr James Findlay
Chief Executive Officer

Kim Booth: Minister must maintain super trawler ban, here